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gabefranco
08-29-2016, 01:21 PM
Hey all, first real post here. Have built five ukuleles so far, (only two of which I would be proud to show anyone) but lurk often and love the builder community here.

So I thought it was time to share a build of my own. No idea if/when this will end up being finished but I'm hoping to have it done by November.

In my online perusing, I've never seen a true acoustic instrument made entirely out of Southern Yellow Pine. (Henceforth will be referred to as SYP)
Now there are probably many reasons for this, but I am of the camp that believes any wood can be made into a fine sounding ukulele with the right kind of treatment.

So this instrument will not be completely SYP, The fingerboard, bridge, and most likely heel cap and butt strip will be made out of Indian Rosewood. The linings will be basswood. As for braces, I haven't decided whether to go with SYP or spruce. But besides that, everything will be SYP.

And here is where I will show what I have so far.
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I don't have fret slotting capabilities at the moment, so the fingerboard was slotted during my time at Guitar school.

The shape is gonna be based off of some free Martin soprano plans I found online.

The sides and top were planed, rather than sanded due to SYP's resinous clogging nature.
Also because of the resinous nature, wiping down mating surfaces with acetone is recommended before gluing up.

So if you're wondering why there's four sides, it's because I am planning on laminating the sides. Total thickness will be about 3/32.

This will be accomplished with a mold which I will elaborate on when I get to the step of actually bending the sides.

cml
08-29-2016, 07:52 PM
Well it certainly looks good!

gabefranco
10-04-2016, 10:58 AM
Haven't gotten a lot done recently; still trying to figure out what lamination method I'm going to do for the sides and whether or not I will need to wait to buy a bending iron.

I have decided to use basswood for the linings however, which are also laminated. I figure that making every single part out of Southern Yellow Pine would make the uke unnecessarily heavy.
I was able to find a 15 pack of 3" x 24", 1/16 inch thick basswood sheets for extremely cheap so it made sense to not go through all the work of having to cut thin strips of the pine.

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Trying a new method here with a cork lined mating mold (to account for the error when sanding the mating faces). In the above picture, they have not been glued together, just steamed and clamped into the mold so that they don't break or compress on the tight bends. If you make one of these for a guitar, you don't need to steam/pre bend the laminations because the curves are much less tight.

Continuing with the laminations, I have also decided to make the butt block out of laminated basswood, alternating the grain of the layers like plywood. Again, made out of the same basswood sheet material as described above.

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The melamine sheets seem to do a fine enough job of keeping everything flat and evenly clamped. You can see the soon to be glued up layers of basswood in the picture as well.

Hope to have more exciting updates soon!

southcoastukes
10-04-2016, 01:18 PM
In my online perusing, I've never seen a true acoustic instrument made entirely out of Southern Yellow Pine.

There's a well respected fellow over in Beaumont who's done one. Take a look:

http://davidnewtonguitars.squarespace.com/

Looks like you're on the road to an interesting outcome. Thanks for sharing the process & keep us posted.

Michael N.
10-05-2016, 03:18 AM
Never had a piece of SYP in my hands. Doubt there's much of it in the UK. I presume it is classed as a softwood. Going by your pictures there's not much distinction between the spring and summer growth. That does happen in other types of pine but I wouldn't say it was the absolute norm.
I like the look of fairly wide grain spruce, although it might take me a while before I make the move over to wide grain pine. I must say I'm getting pretty bored of seeing 25 grains to the inch. I'm sure you are right in saying that SYP can make for a good/great sounding instrument. I don't really see why not.

gabefranco
11-17-2016, 12:08 PM
Never had a piece of SYP in my hands. Doubt there's much of it in the UK. I presume it is classed as a softwood.
Oddly enough it is very hard/dense stuff. I'm not sure of its actual classification but I would definitely consider it a hardwood even if it is not actually considered one.

gabefranco
11-17-2016, 12:18 PM
Sorry for the delay; between building other stuff and being awful at taking pictures as things happen, updates will probably be spaced out and very much after-the-fact for this build.

I finally decided on hand bending the sides to the rough shape and then gluing on the laminated linings in my half mold to bring it to the final shape.

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The sides are super thin because they were thicknessed with the idea of lamination in mind, but I'm actually glad I didn't laminate them or make them thicker after playing another vintage Martin O-style the other day. I want everything to be as thin and light as I can make it.

Still trying to decide on the type of neck joint. Mortise and tenon is what I know best, but dovetail seems like the way to go for these. Don't want to mess up my first dovetail either though.

Also working on trying to make a seamless BWBWB rosette ala Ken Timms, but with wood veneers. Not sure how that will go.

Dan Gleibitz
11-17-2016, 01:00 PM
Looking good! Those stripy sides are really unique.

Sven
11-18-2016, 02:54 AM
That's really good looking.

Timbuck
11-18-2016, 03:49 AM
The Guy who bought my old belt sander makes pool tables..and he said he used Southern yellow pine mostlly in the construction, he said it was a good timber to work with

gabefranco
11-18-2016, 04:11 AM
The Guy who bought my old belt sander makes pool tables..and he said he used Southern yellow pine mostlly in the construction, he said it was a good timber to work with

My only problem is how resinous it is.

While I have your attention, I was wondering if you've ever done your soprano hot back bending on a two piece back and if so, have you had any problems with the glue joint? I couldn't find any SYP that was wide enough for one piece plates, but would like to try the arching method you use.

Timbuck
11-18-2016, 04:34 AM
My only problem is how resinous it is.

While I have your attention, I was wondering if you've ever done your soprano hot back bending on a two piece back and if so, have you had any problems with the glue joint? I couldn't find any SYP that was wide enough for one piece plates, but would like to try the arching method you use.

I've neve tried it with a glued joint, i'd imagine it would come apart with the heat.

gabefranco
11-18-2016, 05:07 AM
I've neve tried it with a glued joint, i'd imagine it would come apart with the heat.

I've heard Titebond 3 is good at resisting heat and moisture, and some builders use it for binding where they've glued purfling to it before bending, so I may split the back and reglue with that. If not, I guess I'll just have to wait until I can find a wide quartersawn or riftsawn board.

gabefranco
02-11-2017, 05:29 PM
Been a while with no updates so I figured I'd give one.

Some updates without pictures:

-Reglued the back with Titebond 3, still need to finish building the back bender.
-Decided on a rounded mortise and tenon for the neck joint.

And now some pictures. I finally got around to making a seamless BWBWB rosette out of wood veneers.

http://i.imgur.com/YttXroS.jpg

It's a pretty difficult thing to make up; lots of tape, rubber bands, and worry. Took me two tries to get a usable end product and even then I still had to do some touch ups with super glue or titebond in spots where the layers didn't fully come together.

Tonight I installed the rosette. Just waiting for it to dry now.

http://i.imgur.com/Fh7qK1L.jpg

As a side note, that's the Veritas dremel base. I cannot recommend it enough. Solid and precise.

http://i.imgur.com/7AbELnh.jpg

New and old. It would have been very difficult and probably not worth it to get or make veneers of the correct thicknesses. And besides, I like the uniform look of my version better. Plus, Timbuck's are very similar so I think it's ok to fudge authenticity a bit here ;)

That's all until next time. Hopefully won't be too long for another update.

gabefranco
02-11-2017, 05:30 PM
Oh, and in case anyone was curious to see, here's the Martin. I've been keeping it in the shop for inspiration.

http://i.imgur.com/q8n1XW1.jpg

Has the Made in USA stamp so it's a later year, but it's in extremely good shape (besides the intonation which I may fix somewhere down the road.)

gabefranco
02-16-2017, 02:25 PM
Sides have been glued to the blocks

http://i.imgur.com/r7Y3I1I.jpg

3/32" MOP dots installed and the end of the fretboard shaped. I used a roundover bit to get the shape on the front (all credit to Mr. Timms for the idea) and then did some hand sanding and scraping to blend it to the 12th fret.

http://i.imgur.com/oweeOEd.jpg

Not going for the Pendalogue on either the headstock or the fretboard tongue as you can see here. Trying to make it my own style in small ways here and there.

OhioBelle
02-16-2017, 02:58 PM
Not a luthier, but am really enjoying this thread. I was raised in Georgia, USA surrounded by pine. My grandfather and his father before him were both lumber men who made their livings off the pine forests, so I have a fond nostalgia for it. I also know first-hand that the stuff is VERY hard, as my Ohio house was built with it in 1925. I cannot pound a nail into it to save my life. I must use a drill bit.

Best of luck as you continue your beautiful build!